Not allowed to defend myself: Cyrus Mistry

  • Removal unprecedented in corporate history

MUMBAI: Cyrus Mistry, who was abruptly removed as Chairman of the Tata Group on Monday, has sent an email to Board members and the Trusts expressing his shock over his removal. The “Board has not covered itself with glory,” he said and claimed “I was not given a chance to defend myself”.

Describing the Board proceedings as invalid and illegal, Mistry alleged he had not been allowed freedom of action to manage the affairs of the group, because of changes in the Articles of Association of Tata Sons which had reduced the power of the Chairman.

“The sudden action and lack of explanation has led to all manner of speculation and has done my and group’s reputation immeasurable harm,” Mistry said in the email.

Mistry has been replaced by his predecessor, Ratan Tata, who is back as top boss of India’s largest conglomerate for four months.

Both Mistry and the Tatas have filed caveats as a pre-emptive move against a legal challenge.

Mistry has described his removal as “unprecedented” in the annals of corporate history. His office has said that he is not considering a legal move at this stage.

The $100 billion group’s Board has nine members. Six voted to remove Mistry, two abstained and Mistry, as per rules, did not get a vote.

Harish Salve, long-term legal advisor to Tata Company said that Mistry’s decisions to sell assets acquired by the group’s patriarch, Ratan Tata, including its steel interests in the UK, did not go well with the Board and were seen as damaging the company’s formidable reputation globally.

Earlier, Mohan Parasaran, who provided legal advice to the Board for a month over Mistry’s removal said that before the landmark Board meeting, Ratan Tata had met Mistry privately and advised him to quit, but the latter had turned down the suggestion.

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